Can You Drive a Golf Cart without a License?

Golf carts are becoming increasingly popular in America due to their convenience and small size. As a result, more than 120,000 American homes already own at least one golf cart.

Due to the increased demand present in the golf cart market, the laws of driving one differ from one state to another. Additionally, golf cart prices vary from one model to another and some can even sell at $20,000 dollars.

Fun facts aside, this guide will focus on the legality of driving a golf cart on the road. For example, can you drive a golf cart without a license? Let’s begin!

Can You Drive a Golf Cart without a License?

Simply put, some American states allow drivers to operate a golf cart without a license, provided that the vehicle is street-safe. Other states, however, limit the use of golf carts on public roads and require that the driver have a functioning, up-to-date license.

In other words, whether or not you can drive your golf cart without a license will essentially depend on what state you’re currently in. Remember that the legal requirements for driving a golf cart will differ from one state to another.

That’s why, in case you want to know for sure if you can use your golf carts to run everyday errands, it’d be wise to consult with a local government representative first. They’re certain to help you understand the legalities of operating a golf cart.

Keep in mind, however, that while your local laws might allow it, the laws of the state itself might be against driving a golf cart on public roads. This, unfortunately, means that the state police are likely to apprehend you for breaking state law.

Where Can You Drive a Golf Cart without a License?

As it stands, only a handful of American states ban the use of golf carts outside of private courses and lands. These states are limited to the following:

  • New York
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
  • Rhode Island

Every other USA state is a fair game. The primary differences between the other states simply come down to a few legal variations.

To demonstrate, take Texas for example. Certain local counties have legalized operating golf carts on roads while some still haven’t.

California, on the other hand, requests that street-legal golf carts weigh around 1,300 pounds and no more. The state also doesn’t allow more than two people to be in the vehicle, including the driver.

Additionally, California declared that golf carts on the road must have glazed windows and fenders in order to avoid accidents and stay safe.

A final example would be Florida. While this state doesn’t require a license to drive a golf cart, it does have an age restriction. Put simply, only those above 14 are allowed to get behind the wheel of a golf cart.

Not only that, but your cart should be insured and DMV-approved otherwise it’s not considered street-safe by Florida. The only times you can operate a golf cart there is anywhere between sunset and sunrise as well.

Finally, keep in mind the speed limit each state dictates for golf carts. For your safety and that of others, check your local laws about what your license plates should look like and how fast you can go on highways and public roads.

Who Can Drive a Golf Cart without a License?

Anyone can drive a golf cart so long as they’re of legal age and the vehicle is approved by the state laws.

Similar to Florida, the approved age limitations of many states range between 14 and 15. A few states, however, restrict the legal age to 13. The same laws apply to renting or owning a golf cart too.

Note, however, that some American states require that teenagers have a legal adult or supervisor on board the vehicle at all times when in operation.

Those younger than what the state’s legal limit is can only operate the golf cart on private properties. So in the case any accidents happen, you’re legally responsible for it, especially if there was no adult with them when it occurred.

How Do You Drive a Golf Cart without a License?

While a license may not always be needed when operating a golf cart, it doesn’t mean that other documents and safety measurements aren’t required as well.

To begin with, all states that legalize the use of golf carts on streets require that the drivers have the necessary registration papers and liability insurance plans.

On top of that, the same states have declared other legal limitations in terms of when you can drive your golf cart and how the vehicle should look to be deemed street-legal.

Below, we’ll further explain these requirements so you know what to keep in mind when driving a golf cart.

Operating Times

For the safety of their citizens, states ask that golf cart drivers only run their low-speed vehicles when the sun is still out. In other words, it’s better to drive your golf cart anytime from sunrise to sunset.

That’s because, during the night, it can be harder to spot golf carts. It’s also the reason why some states require that you install reflective license plates on your automobile.

Speed Limits

Most golf carts aren’t able to reach higher speed limits. In fact, the standard range is set to be from 25 to 45 miles per hour.

Some states allow golf cart owners to carry out upgrades on their engines so the driver can reach that maximum speed of 45.

Specific Cart Accessories

Street-legal golf carts need to be equipped with the necessary accessories to keep their operators safe on the road. These installments include a horn, headlights, and taillights.

The golf cart should have adequate brakes, reflectors, and a rear-view mirror as well. Among the federal requirements needed is having a vehicle identification number (VIN).

Final Say

Can you drive a golf cart without a license? The answer will ultimately depend on which state jurisdiction and county law you’re living under.

More and more American states are legalizing the use of golf carts on the road already, they simply have multiple laws to keep drivers and others safe. Make sure, as such, to learn about your local legal requirements beforehand so you don’t get in trouble.



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